I'm Leaving My Thriving Group Studio and Starting Over. Here's My Plan.

As I’m writing this, we are two weeks from moving from North Carolina to Eastern Washington.

We’ve been in North Carolina for 10 years, so as much as I’m excited about moving to a new home, I’m saddened to leave behind a studio of families I know and love.

As entrepreneurs, we have the luxury of moving because we want to - and that’s exactly why we’re moving. We’re ready for a new adventure, we love the Northwest, and my family lives nearby.

As entrepreneurs, a cross-country move is thrilling…and also terrifying.

We aren’t moving to a new job. We are leaving behind my thriving studio, which is wait-list-only. My website has been organically on page 1 of piano lesson results for my city for a long time now, and my reputation is well-established.

We’re moving to a new city where we don’t know anyone but our real estate agent.

And yes, I will be rebuilding my studio in our brand new city just as quickly as I can.

What does this have to do with you?

All of us started from scratch at one point. Many of us start over at least once in our teaching careers.

Traditionally, it takes a long time to establish and build a studio in a new location. Word of mouth doesn’t bring in a full studio within the first month, and most teachers are dependent on another income (from another job or from a partner) while they rebuild.

So here’s your front-row seat to a studio rebuild that will happen quickly.

You will find this particularly helpful if you find yourself in the position of:

→ Starting over

→ Building your first studio

→ Increasing your studio size quickly

→ Finding yourself unable to rely on another source of income

Here’s a front-row seat to my studio adventure.

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Want to Reach Adult Students? Watch How This Teacher is Doing it.

Do you offer music lessons for adults in your studio?

While music lessons are certainly not a new trend, they have been a hot topic of online discussion recently.

There’s good reason for this. As many of us are incorporating group lessons into our studios, we are discovering that group lessons for adults are deeply rewarding - and so much fun - for everyone involved.

So how do you reach adult students to fill your classes?

I found myself asking this question recently when I decided to add adult piano classes to my schedule. How could I effectively get the word out to adults when I’d always geared my marketing toward families with young children?

I had to do some work on my website to make sure that I was attracting adults to my studio - as well as families with children.

So when a teacher from Los Angeles reached out to us this spring about building a website for her mostly-adult studio, I was intrigued. What would a studio website geared toward adult students look like?

I can’t wait to show you.

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What You Should Know Before Working With a Web Designer

Wonder what it’s like to work with a web designer?

You can build a great studio website on your own - and maybe you already have.

Or maybe you’re thinking about taking your studio - and website - to the next level, and you’d like to delegate this big task to a pro.

Maybe your time has become more valuable since you first built your website, and you no longer have the space in your schedule to create the website you really want.

So what’s it like to hand this task over a web designer?

Here are the answers to all of your questions.

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Our Top 4 Tips for Writing Stand-Out Copy

Want to know what will drive a parent away from your studio website?

Too many words.

We are constantly confronted with words online, so our brains have adapted by skimming.

(Don’t think you skim online? Spend 2 minutes on your Facebook newsfeed.)

The words on your studio website need to be incredibly powerful. Your words have the ability to grab a parent’s attention, capture their imagination, and show them what’s unique about your studio.

It takes some persistence - a willingness to write, edit, and edit some more - but your copy is arguably the most powerful element of your website.

It’s worth the time to get your words right.


Here are our 4 top tips for writing copy that will grab your audience:

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Our Favorite Websites of Spring 2019

As a musician, how do you stay inspired?

As a teacher, how do you inspire your students?

As creatives, inspiration is vital to our drive to create, learn, teach, and grow.

When you think of working on your studio website, you probably look at other music studio websites for inspiration. And there are some great websites to draw inspiration from.

But one thing I’ve learned as the owner of a music studio: it’s imperative to my perspective that I also draw inspiration from beyond my own world.

So today’s blog post will show you some fantastic inspiration in the world of web design.

You’ll see websites from a wide range of industries and professions (although - confession - they all have something to do with the arts), and you’ll see how each one can inspire your work on your own studio website.

Enjoy, take notes, and steal the ideas you love!

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Pass the Cake: What We've Learned About YOU in Our First Year

Happy birthday to us!


We launched Studio Rocket Web Design one year ago, and it’s been an exciting ride.

We’ve all heard that the first several years of a new business can be...well, rocky. The last time I truly launched a new business was more than twenty years ago when I started teaching piano.

So we didn’t know what our first year would involve - other than a lot of hard work and the ability to be flexible.

But this first year of offering web design for music studios has exceeded our expectations - in so many good ways.

Our clients have been wonderful, our conversations and connections with you have been meaningful and rich, and we’ve enjoyed some exciting collaborations with some superhero teachers (among them this podcast, this blog article, this other blog article, and this guest blogger’s stint that resulted in this memorable rockstar feature).

We have learned so much through conversation and working together.

[Cue “Getting to Know You” from The King And I.]


Want to know what we’ve learned about you?

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How Much Should I Spend on My Studio Website?

What does a great studio website cost?

When you think about the cost of building an excellent website, what comes to mind?

Is it many dollar signs?

The world of web design can feel complicated and expensive, and you may not know where to start - or what’s a fair price to pay for your website.

The truth is that you can spend almost any amount you can imagine on a website - from $0 to beyond $10,000.

But what do you NEED to pay for a great website? (hint: it’s probably not $10,000) The answer primarily depends on what you are willing to invest, and that comes down to time and money.

This blog post will:

→ Lay out the three primary options for building a website

→ Show you a general price range for each option

→ Give you a realistic picture of the pros and cons for each option

→ Help you decide what is the best fit for you and your studio goals


Here’s a look at what you can plan to invest in a studio website:

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Quick Tip: 3 Things You MUST Do Before Launching Your Website

So you’ve invested many hours of your life building a beautiful new studio website that you are tremendously proud of.

Or perhaps you are in the middle of updating your website so that it reflects where your growing studio is headed.

Either way, there are 3 things you absolutely must do before launching your website. They will ensure that your website is ready to represent you well - and are quick to implement.

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How to Get a [Great] Domain Name

Want to know what WON’T be a hot topic at your next dinner party?


Domain names.


It’s easy to forget about the importance of your website’s domain name, particularly if it’s one you’ve had for a long time.


But in 2019, you could easily print your studio business card with just your domain name - forget your phone number and address - to connect with potential studio families.


If a local parent is chatting with another local parent about their child’s fantastic violin teacher, they won’t have to say more than “Westmont Violin Studio.” Their friend can easily remember that, and will Google the studio name - or simply type in “www.westmontviolinstudio.com.


And, just like that, the potential studio parent is able to view and learn about your studio.


Here’s what you need to know about how to choose a fantastic domain name - and where to buy one.

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Worried About the Economy? Protect Your Studio by Doing These 4 Things.

Are you worried about the economy?

How did the last recession affect your studio?

The current rumors of another economic downturn instantly bring feelings of anxiety for many of us.

Here’s the bad news: the economy will take another hit - and then recover again - because that’s what economies do. And the internet isn’t doing much to calm our fears about it, either.

Here’s the good news: the internet will make it easier for you to attract a steady stream of students through the next economic downturn.

How?

Through your studio website.

Here are 4 things you can do to get your studio ready to thrive through the next economic downturn:

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Your Studio Website in 2019: Update or Start Over?

What year did you build your first studio website?

Did you build it yourself? Did a family member or friend build it for you? Did you hire a web designer?

I built my first website on Squarespace in 2013.

It was both overwhelming and thrilling. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when it was finished, and received frequent compliments on how modern and professional it looked.

I wish I’d taken a screenshot of that website; you would think it was anything but “modern” now. Ironically, while our 4-year old kitchen remodel still looks on-trend; my 6-year old website design would look ridiculously dated.

That’s because website technology and online design trends, in particular, change at lightning speed now.

It’s important that your website is connecting with parents, and many of these parents are millenials.

Keeping your website relevant and relatable to parents in 2019 means updating the look - and performance - of your website regularly.

But how do you know when to update your website and when to start over with a new website?

Here are 3 quick ways to know when it’s time to start over with a new website:

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Will Your Studio Website Get Lost in 2019? These 3 Changes are Essential.

Happy New Year!

Is your website ready for 2019? Things change so fast online that it can be hard to keep up.

Today’s post contains the 3 things you must do to be sure your website is 2019-ready. These changes are absolutely essential if you want your website to continue to work well for you.

Everything on this list can be checked quickly, so let’s dive in and bring your website up to speed for the new year.

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Expert Roundup: How Your Favorite Teachers Use Social Media

To round out this series on staying connected with your studio, Megan Desmarais and I have teamed up to interview a few expert teachers on how they use social media.

We asked each teacher three simple questions about what they use, what goals they are able to achieve, and how they stay consistent on their chosen platform.

We received some fantastic answers - including a few we weren’t expecting!

Here’s what Marie Lee, Sara Campbell, Amy Chaplin, Nicola Cantan, and other experts had to say:

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Studio Blog + Social Media: What's Right for You? pt. 2 with Megan Desmarais

As a music teacher, have you ever wondered whether you should keep a blog for your studio? Have you tried to decide whether a blog - or Facebook, or Instagram - is worth the effort?

Last week, long-time piano teacher and blogger Megan Desmarais shared her blogging experience with us.

This week, Megan steps you through how to choose the very best option for your lifestyle and goals.

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Studio Blog + Social Media: What's Right For You? with Megan Desmarais

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll dive into a hot topic for many teachers right now: blogging and social media for your studio. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of blogging and social media - how to decide what’s the right fit for you.

This week and next week feature guest blogger Megan Desmarais. Megan is an expert in the field of studio blogging and has kept a long-time blog for both students and other teachers at Very Piano. Megan’s blog is filled with high-quality content, and she shares with us from her wealth of experience.

If you’re teaching music lessons in the 21st century you need some sort of online presence; whether it’s a studio website, social media accounts, a blog, or all of the above.

 

People are so connected online these days that if you’re ignoring all of these forms of communication you’re hiding from nearly all of your current and future clients.

 

While blogging definitely has its place in many successful businesses, it’s not for everyone.

 

If you’re trying to decide whether a studio blog is right for you, keep reading.

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Why Photos Make or Break Your Website, pt. 2

Happy holiday season!

How has 2018 been for you and your studio? Have you achieved your goals for the year?

How has your studio website served you this year? Are you happy with the job it’s doing to keep your studio full and running smoothly?

If your website isn’t yet consistently helping you meet your studio goals, this is the perfect time to give it a big upgrade by taking new website photos. Holiday group classes, recitals, and all of the music that happens during this season provide rich photo opportunities.

So how can the photos on your website help you meet your studio goals?

I’m so glad you asked. Let’s take a look at how parents engage with your website.

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Why Photos Make or Break Your Website, pt. 1 + GIVEAWAY!

A studio website follows a simple formula if you break it down:

Images + written content + contact method = studio website.

But it’s not as simple as a formula, is it? Just having images, copy, and buttons that lead to a contact page do not equal a great website.

It is vital that these elements are crafted to work together to capture a parent’s imagination, tell the story of their child’s experience in your studio, and lead them to contact you.

This post will show you why the images you use on your studio website have a huge amount of power.

And, to help you get the very best studio photos for your website, we are excited to share a gift with you: our downloadable “Guide to Getting Stunning Website Photos.” This guide is a collection of our very best pro tips for getting photos that will make your website stand out.

So let’s dive in. Why do website photos matter so much to your success?

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